Prostate cancer is the most frequent cancer in males. CaP is the second cause of death due to cancer in the male Swiss population. Mortality in cancer patients is increasingly linked to metastatic disease. Bone is the second most frequent site of metastasis. However, a restricted number of solid cancers, especially mammary cancer and prostate cancer, are responsible for the majority of skeletal metastases. In autopsy studies skeletal metastases are present with a frequency of 70-80% of the patients affected by prostate carcinoma. Despite the frequency of skeletal metastases in CaP, treatment options for bone metastasis are at present unsatisfactory.
The Urology Research Laboratory investigates on the molecular mechanisms responsible for the propensity of prostate carcinoma to colonize bone. The basic strategy consists in the identification of “pro-“ or “anti-metastatic genes” in cancer cell lines and in clinical specimens of prostate cancers by gene profiling, and subsequent verification, by gene “knock in” or “knock down”, of their functional role in determining the metastatic potential, in vitro and in vivo, of resulting prostate cancer cells.